An Election Hymn? “In Times of Great Decision”


A hymn for the election? Odd? Not really. Songs have through the ages been written out of the context of political, religious, and social boilerplate issues.

While some conservative Catholic bishops say voting for Kerry would require that person to go to confession, and as the nation approaches the election in polarized voting blocks, here is a song for both sides. One that reflects the speech of Abraham Lincoln that are written on the Lincoln Memorial walls, a song of justice for the world, a song that cries out not that God be on our side but one with a plea for us to be on God’s side.

Rev. Carolyn Winfrey Gillette wrote a new hymn called, “In Times of Great Decision.” She also wrote a song following 9/11 called “O God, Our Words Cannot Express” that has been featured by PBS-TV and BBC-TV and used in thousands of churches. The following is from a press release from the National Council of Churches.

The Christian pinciples (of her songs) apply biblically-based, well-established ecumenical views to both domestic and foreign policy issues. To date, more than 12,000 copies have been downloaded from the NCC Web site. Evidence of their balanced approach? Critical reaction splits about evenly between those who find the Principles too ‘pro-Kerry’ and those who find them too ‘pro-Bush.’ We invite
you to study–and sing–them for yourself. And remember to vote on November 2.

Here is the text of the hymn:

In Times of Great Decision
By Rev. Carolyn Winfrey Gillette

In times of great decision, be with us, God, we pray!
Give each of us a vision of Jesus’ loving way.
When louder words seem endless and other voices sure,
Remind us of your promise: Your love and truth endure.

O God, whose gifts are countless, You send us bearing peace.
You fill our dreams with justice for all communities.
You give us global neighbors that all may justly live.
May those we choose as leaders reflect the life you give.

O God, you bridged the distance; You opened wide your door.
You call us by our presence to reach to serve the poor.
You teach us: Welcome strangers! Seek justice on the earth!
May those we choose as leaders See every person’s worth.

You call on every nation to put aside all greed,
To care for your creation and for your ones in need,
To care for those in prison, for children, for the ill.
In times of great decision, may we choose leaders well.

The new hymn’s suggested tune is Samuel Sebastian Wesley’s AURELIA 7.6.7.6 D (“The Church’s One Foundation”) or Welsh folk melody LLANGLOFFAN (“O God of Every Nation”). To hear this tune, go to Cyberhymnal’s version of “The Church’s One Foundation.”

By Greg Taylor Posted in General